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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 13/06/2006
Ryle Road Garages, Farnham



APPENDIX Q

Waverley Borough Council

community overview and scrutiny COMMITTEE
22ND may 2006

executive - 13th june 2006

Title:
RYLE ROAD GARAGES, FARNHAM
[Ward Affected: Farnham Firgrove]

Summary and purpose:

This report, which was considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 22nd May, recommends that the Council disposes of a parcel of land at Farnham to enable the development of two one bed-flats to be built by Ability Housing Association, which specialises in providing affordable housing for people with disabilities. The ground floor home will be wheelchair accessible. The first floor flat will provide move on accommodation for a person with a learning difficulty, with both to be let on assured tenancies. The Council will receive nomination rights.

Environmental implications:

Ryle Road is within the Thames Basin Heathland Special Protection Area and, as the application will result in an increase in dwellings, English Nature will need to be consulted. The site also falls within the Wealden Heaths 5km Special Protection Area Zone, within which the impact of development on the SPA must be considered. However, the proposed development is on a site currently occupied by ten void garages and so is very unlikely to have a significant impact on the Special Protection Areas. The new homes will be constructed to meet the Housing Corporation’s “Very Good” Eco-homes standard and will meet as a minimum the Housing Corporation’s Scheme Development Standards.

Social / community implications:

There is a significant need for affordable housing for rent across the Borough. Decent homes have a positive impact on the health, educational and social well-being of people. 'Move-on' accommodation for people with a learning difficulty has been highlighted as a priority by the Surrey Supporting People Strategy and South West Surrey Housing Sub Group (of Adults and Community Care). The location of the site within an established community would allow tenants to maintain existing support networks and to access nearby services and amenities.

E-Government implications:

There are none arising from this report.

Resource and legal implications:

The land in question is held in the Housing Revenue Account. This proposal will give rise to a capital receipt to the HRA, which can be reinvested in helping the Council to meet the Decent Homes Standard.


Introduction

1. The Ryle Road garage site in Farnham (location as per Annexe 1) contains ten garages, all of which are currently void.
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Figure 1 Garages as of February 2006

2. Officers have been in discussions with Ability Housing Association to explore the opportunity for providing additional affordable housing to meet local housing need. Ability Housing Association is one of the Council’s preferred partners and has a specialism in providing accommodation for people with a physical disability and/ or support needs.

3. A proposal has been developed to provide two self-contained one-bed flats for rent on the site (see Paragraph 1, Figure 1). The ground floor would consist of a wheelchair accessible unit and the upstairs flat would be earmarked for referrals from people with a learning difficulty. Nominations would be taken from people with a physical and/ or learning difficulty registered on the Housing Needs Register.

4. The ground floor unit would exceed ‘Lifetime Homes’ standard, as it would be designed to full wheelchair standard. All rents would be within Target Rent Levels, as determined by the Housing Corporation/ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

5. Funding for support for the tenant of the upstairs flat has been secured. This will be provided through floating outreach support from a local supported housing scheme for people with a learning difficulty and will be funded by the Surrey Supporting People Team.

6. Ability Housing Association has received an allocation of 180,000 from the Housing Corporation, as part of the National Affordable Housing Development Programme 2006-8.

7. The Council’s Housing Needs Register already holds applications from some 22 people with a learning disability who are in housing need. However, this picture is likely to be a significant underestimate of the true extent of need, as many more people will not have registered their housing need. The majority of such people are likely to be living with ageing carers and it is only when a crisis occurs, such as the death of the carer, that housing and support services are accessed. Waverley Borough Council and Surrey County Council are working together to encourage families in this situation to think about forward planning and address housing and care needs in advance of a crisis point. The register also holds applications from 17 people who are waiting for wheelchair accessible properties.

8. It is proposed that the Council disposes of the site in exchange for a capital receipt to be negotiated by the Property and Development Manager to enable the affordable housing scheme for rent proposed to progress.

9. It is proposed that the capital receipt arising from this land disposal should be applied to meeting the Decent Homes Standard on dwellings in the HRA. Resource Implications

10. As the garages are currently all empty, they are not generating any income for the HRA. Although if repaired the garages would generate income in the future, the use of the site to achieve a capital receipt that can be directed at decent homes work is considered better value for the HRA at this time and helps to address two of the Council's priorities of providing more affordable homes and meeting the decent homes standard.

Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee

11. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed the officer recommendation as set out below.

Recommendation

It is recommended that

1. the proposal to provide additional affordable homes in Farnham be supported;

Background Papers (DoH)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100 D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Alice Baxter Telephone: 01483 523096

E-mail: abaxter@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/executive/2006-07/024